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tv   Way Too Early With Willie Geist  MSNBC  March 2, 2012 5:30am-6:00am EST

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good morning. i'm willie geist. it's friday, march nd and i am back home in bergen county, new jersey, where i grew up and went to a public high school about 15 minutes from here. a lot like the one we'll spend the morning today. fort lee high school traditionally has been a very good school ranking in the top 100 of new jersey high schools, but a couple years ago it slipped a bit and was labeled by the state a school that needs improvement. improve it did. last year, just one year after getting the needs improvement tag, fort lee graduated 98% of its students. with 94% of them going on to college. later you will meet some of the administrators and teachers who are using new methods and new philosophy to re-energize the students. they're proud around here this week, we should point out, because fort lee high school products, the brothers ralph and glen zipper. ralph seen here in the upper left won oscars sunday for best featured length documentary for their film "undefeated" the story of a high school football team in memphis. a proud day for fort lee.
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don't forget this morning to shoot me an e-mail at way too early at msnbc, or tweet me @willie geist 1. let me know what you're doing up. we will read the best responses later in the show. first let's get to the news. live at 5:30 a.m. at fort lee high school in fort lee, new jersey. we begin with politics. rick santorum's campaign vowing to appeal a ruling by republican officials in michigan over the way the state's 30 delegates have been awarded in last tuesday's primary. remember yesterday morning at this time, we told you santorum was claiming victory in romney's home state despite losing the popular vote because of the 15-15 split of delegates there. party leaders, though, this morning outraged the santorum camp by voting to change the delegate breakdown giving romney 16 delegates and santorum 14. republican committee members said a rule that divided the delegates equally was incorrect and based on the popular vote romney comes out ahead. santorum blasted that decision
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during a campaign stop yesterday in the state of washington. >> good old boy network, they can't -- they have to change the rules after the game so they can win. that's pathetic. i just think that you really see what the romney campaign is all about. anything to win. after the fact break the rules, rewrite the rules. that's not the way republicans and conservatives do it. but, he's new to the conservative cause so i'm not surprised he doesn't know that. >> santorum's campaign put out a statement as well reading in part we never thought the romney campaign would try to rig the outcome of an election by changing the rules after the vote. this kind of backroom dealing political thuggery just cannot and should not happen in america. that's from the santorum campaign. romney spokesperson, though, says santorum simply looking for somebody to blame after coming up short in tuesday's vote. the campaign statement from romney reads in part, because santorum's strategy failed and mitt romney won, he's now attacking the republican party.
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still the candidates may find little time to focus on michigan with ten big states up for grabs in primaries and kay cusses next tuesday just four days from right now. aside from the delegate fight santorum opened another line of attack against mitt romney yesterday. this time over a senate measure that deals with contraception. yesterday democrats defeated a republican proposal that would have allowed employers to opt out of providing certain insurance coverage on moral or religious objections. republicans say the president's plan violates religious liberty by forcing insurers to pay for birth control. on the campaign trail romney apparently tripped up over the issue initially suggesting it was not the government's business, but about an hour later he said he misunderstood the question adding, quote, of course, he supported the republican efforts. santorum pounced on what he called another romney flip-flop. >> we saw an insight into what's in the gut of governor romney yesterday. he was asked the question about
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the amendment which is about a religious liberty amendment, so not opposing obama care's values on not just churches but people of faith in this country. when governor romney was asked that question his knee-jerk reaction was i can't be for that. hit consultants talk to him, i didn't understand the question. maybe he did, maybe he didn't. if i was asked a question like that, my gut reaction would be always, my got reaction would be, you stand for the first amendment, you stand for freedom of religion, you stand for the first amendment rights. >> the final vote on the senate amendment was 51-48, with three democrats crossing party lines. just one republican, retiring senator olympia snowe voted to defeat it. president obama is urging voters to step up the pressure on congress to end tax breaks for oil and gas companies. in a speech in new hampshire yesterday, the president pushed for new investments in green
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energy while calling for an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels. however the white house plan does nothing to lower the immediate price at the pump. aaa puts the national average at $3.74 a gallon. that's up about 30 cents in just the past month alone. tensions with iran loom over the energy question with heightened concerns an israeli air strike on tehran's nuclear program would drive up oil prices worldwide. at a fund-raiser last night in new york, the president responded to a heckler who shouted "no war in iran." >> we ended torture, we promoted human rights, with he made it clear that america's a pacific power, we demonstrated that if countries like burma travel down the road of democratic reform they will find a new relationship with the united states, and we are leading again by the power of our moral example. that's what change is. none of this changed -- none
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of -- nobody's announced a war, young lady. but we appreciate your sentiment. you're jumping the gun a little bit there. >> the administration has repeatedly urged israel to allow more time for economic sanctions against iran before considering military action. in is ir syria, the red cro is being allowed inside the battered city of homs where government forces have been pounding rebel positions. the regime granted access to humanitarian yesterday. the rebel fighters said their decision to leave was due to a lack of food and medicine. president ba shash assad was
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gathering on the outskirtss of the city. they're putting together a plan to reorganize the rebels into a coordinated force. the uprising has killed more than 7,000 people. back here at home prosecutors are pushing forward with their case against t.j. lane, the ohio teenager accused of killing three students and wounding two others in a high school cafeteria on monday morning. if convicted the 17-year-old could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. investigators are not saying what may have triggered the shooting but so far, it appears the victims were not specifically targeted. this was random. witnesses say the massacre could have been worse if not for an assistant football coach who chased the alleged gunman from the school. that coach, frank hall, spoke yesterday. >> to the victims and families, i want to say i'm sorry. my thoughts and prayers are still with you. to the families of danny, demetrius and russell, i want you to know i was with them.
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i prayed with them, i wiped their tears, and i know god was with them. i don't know why this happened, i only wish i could have done more. i'm not a hero. just a football coach and a study hall teacher. the law enforcement, first responders, that came to our aid that day, they are the heros. >> he is, of course, a hero. god only knows how many more lives would have been lost if he had not stepped in front of the shooter. one of the victims remains hospitalized still in serious condition. and finally conservative blogger andrew breitbart, a man who stirred controversy wherever he went is being remembered from the blogs to the presidential campaign trail. the internet publisher collapsed and died early yesterday morning during a walk near his los angeles home. medical examiners looking into whether or not heart problems could be to blame. breitbart used his websites to
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bring down left wing targets from the community organization group akorn to then congressman anthony weiner. breitbart came under fire in 2010 for sectively editing video that incorrectly portrayed a governmenter worker shirley sherrod as racist. he leaves behind a wife and four children. he was 43. still ahead on a special edition of "way too early," president obama sit downs with the sports guy, bill simmons of espn, getting on the record about bowls, lin sanity and how tough it is to throw out a first pitch in a flak jacket. that's ahead in sports. the story of this school and the people making it work. there's a superintendent in this district who's not shy about upsetting the apple card about tough talk about the way things work in education and what needs to change. meet him and get a check on weather when "way too early" comes right back.
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like a ramen noodle- every-night budget. she thought allstate car insurance was out of her reach. until she heard about the value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. welcome back to a special edition of "way too early." we're live this morning at fort lee high school in new jersey. home of the bridgemen where today "morning joe" and starbucks ub are teaming up to highlight schools across the country that are making a
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difference in the education of our children. let's head back across the river to new york city real quick to get a check of the weather from nbc meteorologist bill karins. >> good morning to you. good crowd out there. i'll be watching for the most part areas of the midwest today into the ohio valley and the deep south. we already have a severe weather concern. if you're in the st. louis area or towards st. charles, about a half hour from now, you'll have a thunderstorm heading your way with large hail. the tornado threat is more or less later today. it's an amazing morning. the setup is just prime for these big storms today. it is 70 degrees at this hour in the middle of the night in memphis, tennessee. it should not be this warm this time of year. the cold air will rush in behind it and that's where we'll get the tornado threat later on today. here is the area of greatest risk. this area in red. if you or your family or friends you know someone that lives in southern indiana, southern ohio, central kentucky, much of central tennessee, and even central and northern portions of alabama make sure they know they have the threat for large damaging tornadoes today and your safety plan for you and your family because that's going
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to be the concern today. another tornado outbreak. again, that's going to start later this afternoon. the eastern seaboard, you're fine. willie, looks like the storms from new york southwards to d.c. will come through early saturday morning. we'll have updates and i'll be here throughout the day tracking these tornadoes. >> all right. we'll be just fine with a little weather thinking about the people in the tornado regions. good warning bill. we'll back with you on "morning joe." turn to sports. president obama took a break from election year poll it ticks to sit down at the white house with espn sports guy bill simmons. the two got deep into the throwing out of first pitches and who gets credit for the lin sanity and, of course, to the president's own chicago bulls. >> over the last five years, how many times have you envisioned welcoming the world champion chicago bulls to the white house? >> every year. and it hasn't happened yet. but it will happen. >> it will happen? you're like joe namath guaranteeing it. >> you know. i've got another five years here.
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>> you're guaranteeing that too. >> somewhere along the line my bulls are going to come through here, absolutely. i knew about jeremy before you did or everybody else did, because, you know, arne duncan, my secretary of education was captain of the harvard team. >> are you taking credit for lin sanity? it feels like you are. >> i can't take credit for it, but i'm just saying i was there early. >> we are talking a little bit also about throwing out the first pitch at games. president obama talked about how difficult that is with a flak jacket on. here's his effort at the 2009 all-star game in st. louis reminding us just how difficult it is. maybe we don't have the video. how about former president george w. bush throwing out the president. here's the president, mom jeans on, floats one low. this is how it's done. and in the interview, president obama gave props to president
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george w. bush at the 2001 world series a couple weeks after 9/11. george w. bush threw one right down the gut with the flak jacket on. some other sports will ferrell has taken on perhaps the biggest challenge of his career, staring as a guy named armando alvarez in the movie "casa de padre" where he speaks entirely in spanish. to promote the film he showed up at the mexico/colombia stadium where he agreed to do an interview with univision. his strategy if you don't understand the question name a famous soccer player. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language brx [
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perfecto. >> we're told the host was asking, what is the name of your character in the film. does he live or die in the movie. will ferrell responded with the name of a soccer player. we don't show you a ton of hockey highlights but this one we have to. game goes to overtime in a shoot-out, one of montreal player's scores so minnesota has one chance to tie it up and keep the shoot-out going. let's see how he did. that's the tie. the responsibility falls on the shoulders of devin sed gucci. >> set gucci is one for three this year in the shoot-out. a must score situation. he won't get it. >> that is not good. he somehow loses the puck and then loses his skate. falls on his keister and that's how the game ends. goalie usually comes out of the net, casually strolls out to make the save.
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too bad for the wild. they score three goals in the final minute to force the overtime to end like this. the canadiens win 5-4. coming up on "morning joe," at the top of the hour, live from fort lee high school, we have an incredible lineup to talk about the state of education. a veritable of who's who of governors, chris christie will be here, jack markell and dannel malloy will join us. chancellor of washington republican schools, michele reid and the president of the teachers union, randy winegarten with the reverend al sharpton and our "morning joe" crew. in a few minutes at the top of the hour. >> when we come back we will meet the superintendent of fort lee schools, he's not afraid to step into the ring with any of the forces of education seeking to maintain the status quo at the expense of kids. he's a character and next on "way too early" live from fort lee high school in new jersey. ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪
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welcome back to a special edition of "way too early" live from fort lee high school in fort lee, new jersey. just across the river from new york city. at the top of the show we told you about the michigan republican party's decision to award its two at large delegates to mitt romney changing it al t
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allotment from a 15-15 split between romney and santorum, which santorum called a victory, to a 16 to 14 edge to romney. tell your friends that mitt romney spent an estimated $266,875 per delegate in michigan while rick santorum got his 14 delegates for the bargain price of $164,286 apiece. romney and his super pac outspent santorum and friends by almost two to one in michigan. so why are we here at fort lee high school? it's been a highly regarded high school and good district with a diverse population of kids for decades but had fallen short a bit of its reputation with test scores down. a new crop of administrators came in to right the ship and sold a new and occasionally unpopular message to the school. >> fort lee, new jersey, the first town you hit when you cross over the hudson river from new york city on the george washington bridge. and home to a big brick building on a hill that is fort lee high
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school. >> it's always been a school that's had successes. we maintain status in the state of new jersey, top 100. >> reporter: a strong tradition but when principal church arrived in 2010 she found a school that had slipped from its standards. the state labeling it a school in need of improvement. >> we had a significant percentage of the population that was struggling to meet the benchmark expectations that are required, so it showed us that we had two levels of fort lee high school. >> we needed to do a better job on our end to make sure every kid was receiving what he or she needs. >> reporter: with the support of the assistant superintendent of fort lee and as of last fall the interim superintendent they told the teachers they had to do better. feathers ruffled, nontenured teachers and supervisors were laid off but the school did a 180. >> i am very proud to say this is not my achievement, it's
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their achievement, that in one year they flipped the school so that we were no longer in a needs improvement status. >> reporter: a 33-year-old native of new jersey, says administrators and teachers performed that turnaround with a new philosophy. >> not blaming the kids. i don't want to go home they don't have enough food to eat or a place to do their homework. i can't change that. what i can do is change the services i provide and how hard i work for kids and that's what's going to make a difference. >> he has created an environment where, you know, students and teachers interact on much higher level, almost like a collegiate academic environment. >> i see a change. teachers are a lot more hands on and pay attention to students as individuals. >> i feel like a lot of the teachers are more comfortable in their skin. >> reporter: his hard-charging style of reform has made him a favorite. new jersey governor chris christie and caused some friction with the teachers union.
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>> i don't bash the teachers. i bash the bad guys. that's what my job is to do. my job is to lift up the great people and weed out the bad ones. we're not going to help our kids [ inaudible ] they will never recover academically. >> reporter: he does not mince words when talking about the ongoing anti-christie media blitz snooze spend $30 million or whatever you wasted to put the stupid billboards up and down the turnpike why wouldn't you give that back to the first year teacher you're pulling out of their salary and can barely pay their rent. >> he considers himself a warrior against the status quo. >> if you're supporting great things, then i stand beside you. but if you're enabling bad things to happen to kids, you're darn right i stand across you. >> we will speak live with the
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superintendent coming up ahead on "morning joe." still ahead on "way too early" why are you awake? your home school tweets, texts and e-mails are next, "morning joe" live from fort lee high school, now moments away. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've been buying ragu for years. [ thinking ] i wonder what other questionable choices i've made? [ club scene music ] [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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